Dealing with anxiety in difficult times
The recent events in Manchester and London have come as a shock to all of us. Sometimes it can be difficult to comprehend how such things can happen out of the blue. It also isn’t unusual to feel anxious or uncertain, but it is possible to lessen those feelings of anxiety and help us feel more normal again. If you are someone who tends to worry it is even more important to feel safe and assured.
Relaxing our breathing is one of the most helpful things to do if we are feeling anxious. The easiest way to do this is to practice at a time that we feel relatively ok. Close your eyes and think about a time when you felt really safe and in control. Remember everything you can about it - colours, sounds smells. Play it through in your head several times. Now notice your breathing. The more you practice, the more you will notice it is calm and relaxed. When you are at your calmest, say a phrase to yourself. Something helpful, like “I am calm and in control”. Say exactly the same thing each time you practice, when you are feeling at your most relaxed. Next time you feel the anxiety beginning to rise, focus on your breathing and calmly say the same phrase to yourself. In time you will find the feeling of anxiety lessening.
Be informed, not overwhelmed
It can feel overwhelming when we repeatedly hear and see increasingly graphic images on our screens and front pages. It is important to be informed, but we need to differentiate that from becoming overwhelmed. Limit your exposure to the amount of information you need to feel connected. Also, choose where you hear your news, a mainstream prime time source is likely to be more reliable and measured than something we might find on the internet. If you have been feeling particularly fearful, maybe take a break from it and ask somebody you trust to tell you anything you need to know for a couple of days. Allow yourself the time to process what you are hearing and you will feel calmer.
You are safer than you think
Look at your life and the people within it and have a moment to notice how much love and security there is there. If you take a look around you now, you will begin to see all the many things in the world that are there to keep us safe. From the handrail on the stairs to the cool wall of your kettle, the pin number for your card to the use by date on the milk. Our world is stacked full of things to protect us, we are just so used to them, we take them for granted.
What happened in the recent attacks was awful. Notice though if you have started to over-imagine them or pretend you were there, this can really heighten anxiety. Instead, take a moment to remember those involved and also see that you and tens of millions of others are in fact safe. That way you will be there to love, support and be strong for those that need it.
People experience anxiety in many different ways. You are unique and so too will be the thoughts that make you feel safe, versus those that have made you feel uncertain or anxious. If you have been struggling with this issue - and it is surprising just how many people do - it might be worth looking into one to one coaching. Coaching can help identify your personal triggers and allow you to feel much calmer and in control. It really is possible to lessen that anxiety and enjoy life again.
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